Guest Post -James M's Review of Terminator Genisys

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Hey there people, CrazyGamerHistorian1999 here again and this time, we're talking about the 5th entry in the Terminator movie franchise, the one that changes everything, TERMINATOR GENISYS! As I just said, this film changes everything, not only starring Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, Emily Clarke, Matt Smith (of Doctor Who fame) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (for the first time since T3), but revisits the first film and takes things in a different direction.

After 2009's Terminator Salvation came out (6 years after the release of Rise of the Machines), it would be another 6 years before we got this movie. Salvation was meant to kick of a trilogy, but it didn't in the end as the studio that made T4 got sued and the rights transferred to Skydance and Paramount Studios where director Alan Taylor and writers Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier would work on the movie. The movie came out on July 1st, 2015 and while it was mostly a success, Genisys received a lot of backlash to a point where Terminator Dark Fate (the 6th movie), directed by James Cameron (who regained the rights recently), is set to happen after the events of Terminator 2 in an alternate timeline, ignoring Rise of the Machines and Salvation  as well as this movie.

However, if you watch this movie and think about it, Genisys is not that bad, its actually really good and the writers did a great job. I actually enjoyed this movie and want to see it again some point. But enough delaying, lets go over the entire plot. Major warning, spoilers are ahead...

Synopsis/Plot:
*MAJOR SPOILER WARNING*

We begin the movie with a narration by Kyle Reese (played by Jai Courtney), who talks about how the world was once a lovely place until Skynet gained sentience and took over, launching a nuclear attack on the world and annihilating three million people in the nuclear fire. After the events of Judgement Day, Skynet's forces established control of the planet and began wiping out the survivors. Things began to turn around when John Connor (played by Jason Clarke) led the resistance against Skynet and liberated many people from work camps, even saving Kyle when he was a kid.

For most of his life, Kyle has looked up to John as a father-figure, its almost ironic considering the fact that *spoilers* Kyle Reese is John Connor's biological papa due to time travel. Anyway, we finally get to 2029 where the final battle is about to begin. Yup, the first twenty minutes of Genisys is where the original timeline and the other timeline (consisting of Rise of the Machines and Salvation) converge on 2029 and we see the big battle where Skynet is defeated. The night of the big event, just hours before Operation Chrono begins, Kyle and John talk about whats going on before the leader of the resistance gives a speech which goes like this...

"The machine thinks that we cannot triumph, The machines think that we will not strike at the very heart of Skynet. Yet, here we stand, on the precipice of the final battle. If we fall tonight, mankind falls with us. I look at each of you, and I see the marks of this long and terrible war. For are children, our children's children, so they will not carry these marks. (John gestures to his scars upon his face he received years ago) But they will know who we are and what we did. That we did not bow down, we did not give in! We rose up at this moment! At this hour, willing to sacrifice everything, so that they could live in freedom! ON THIS NIGHT, WE TAKE BACK OUR WORLD!"

As John gives his speech, we see scenes of the Resistance launching its attack on one of Skynet's facilities, this is the big final battle that Kyle mentioned in the first film, the facility is the Time Displacement Equipment facility. As the attack begins, we see the interior of the TDE chamber light up as a robotic voice says, "Perimeter breach, activating Model 101". Thats right, we're tying into the first film (for the most part) as Skynet activates the classic Schwarzenegger T-800 (played by Bret Azar with digital makeup) and the cyborg walks into the time machine naked. Meanwhile, outside, John and Kyle, their forces giving it to the machines big time, head towards the facility where they end up engaging a Hunter Killer walker in battle. You know, seeing something like that, the fight with a big robot outside a big facility wouldn't feel out of place in a video game.

Anyways, its at this point that the Colorado Unit destroys Skynet's core and the machines shut down. Thats it, the war is over and everybody can relax, right? Wrong, there's still the Time Displacement Equipment and the fact a Terminator just went back to 1984 to try to eliminate Sarah Connor, John's mum. Kyle volunteers to go back to 1984 on John's behest to protect Sarah, especially after many other soldiers volunteer. After stripping naked, Kyle walks past a row of resistance soldiers, which includes Matt Smith's character Alex ,and John Connor, steps into the Time machine and it activates. As the Time Displacement Field comes online, John tells Kyle, "What you're doing right now, this is the end of the war." Thats a call back to the start of the first movie when the narration said that the final battle of the war with the machines would happen in 1984.

Before Kyle disappears in the time field, Alex (actually the embodiment of Skynet) attacks John and says in his ear in a whisper, "You didn't think it would be that easy did you?" This refers to the victory of tonight. Kyle, who is watching this with shock and horror, gets memories of an alternate happy timeline and a message from his younger self, "Remember, Skynet is Genisys. When Genisys wakes up, Judgement Day will begin." In 1984 at Griffith Observatory, the T-800 arrives and, like in the first film, goes to find clothes, even bumping into the punks from the first film. Here's how things play out...

(T-800 approaches)

Punk: Hey, hey. Whats wrong with this picture?
Punk 2: (As the T-800 walks up) Nice night for a walk, eh?

(The T-800 steps into view and stops in front of them)
T-800: Nice night for a walk.

Punk: Wash day tomorrow, nothing clean, right?
T-800: Nothing clean, right.

Punk 2: (snapping fingers) This guy's a couple cans short of a six pack.
T-800: Your clothes, give them to me, now!

(Punk 2 draws knife)
Punk 2: Hey, FORGET you, a**hole!"

*Side note: When I watched the movie on DVR, I recorded it on a channel that censors the eff bomb. The channel I was watching Genisys replaced "f***" with "forget". In the non-censored theatrical version and on DVD, the punk says "F*** you a**hole" just like in the 1984 movie.

Just before we see the T-800 attack the punks, rip out a heart and obtain his clothes (like in the original 1984 film), somebody not too far off says, "You won't be needing any clothes." The T-800 wheels around to confront... another T-800 (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), reprogrammed and on the good side. Now we don't know who reprogrammed this T-800, but for simplicity's sake, we'll just assume it was the Resistance.
The newcomer tells the T-800 that its been waiting for him and the young T-800 attacks the old T-800. Yes I said old because the reprogrammed T-800 has been here since 1973. The battle is intense but awesome, the special effects are amazing too. By the way, the concept of two Schwarzenegger T-800s fighting has been around since work on T2 began.

During the battle, Guardian (the good T-800) does get a few hits off the 1984 T-800 before the evil robot overpowers him and, just when it looks like Guardian is on the ropes, a lucky sniper shot takes out the T-800. After the bad guy machine powers down, Guardian gives the sniper a thumbs up. On the other side of L.A, Kyle Reese arrives and, like before, steals pants from a homeless guy. Unlike before, an Asian cop (played by Lee-Bryan Hung) is waiting for him. However, this is not a genuine cop, the guy in the police uniform is actually a T-1000. Kyle gets away from the liquid metal abomination and gets into the mall where he gets his hands on clothes only to run into a couple cops while trying to escape the T-1000.

The cops, O'Brien (played by Wayne Bastrup) and an unnamed cop, arrest Kyle, thinking he's a burglar. When the T-1000 attacks and takes out O'Brien's partner, Kyle and O'Brien hide from the attacking machine, leading to this line of dialogue...

O'Brien: Its gotta be like an alien from outer space.
Kyle: Its a machine that kills humans. Uncuff me...

O'Brien: No, you're under arrest.
Kyle: What part of "kills humans" do you not understand... HANDCUFFS!

(O'Brien uncuffs Kyle and tries to take out the T-1000, but guns are useless, O'Brien gets on the radio)
O'Brien: Mayday, mayday. Officer down. Its some kind of... robot."

Just when it looks like this might be the end of the line, help arrives as a truck smashes into the store and knocks aside the T-1000. The door opens and at the wheel is Sarah Connor (played by Emily Clarke), who shoots the liquid metal monster and yells at Kyle, "Come with me if you want to live, NOW SOLDIER!" Kyle gets in the truck and they make their get away. In the truck, Kyle and Sarah talk about whats going on as things have changed, given the fact Sarah knows about Terminators after the T-1000 tried to bump her off when she was a little girl and Pops the T-800 guardian saved her life. They narrowly escape the T-1000 again, after it catches up with them, and make it to an abandoned warehouse where they fight the T-1000 (once more) along with the young T-800, which reactivated with the T-1000's help.

While Sarah tries to get away from the T-1000, Kyle is left to contend with the T-800. He uses a grenade launcher to try and destroy it, the only result being the T-800's living tissue being burned off by the fiery explosion, revealing its metal endoskeleton. After a lengthy battle, the machine is finally destroyed (again) for good. As for the T-1000, well, Sarah and Guardian took care of it using acid to destroy the monster, but not before Pop's organic flesh takes damage revealing a bit of his metal endoskeleton. As we recover from the battle, it turns out Sarah and Guardian have been building their own Time Displacement machine. Their plans for it? They're gonna go to 1997 to stop Skynet from launching its attack on the world. Kyle tells them everything about his new alternate boyhood memories and the "Genisys is Skynet" message from his younger self, telling them they must go to 2017.

Thank you, Kyle. If you guys had gone to 1997, you'd find nothing. Going to 2017 makes more sense. Remember, the only time Judgement Day would happen in 1997 would be if Cyberdine got its hands on the original T-800's CPU and used it to make Skynet. Because the T-800 got destroyed and whats left of it is being used to power the time machine, we just basically delayed the inevitable and gave the world borrowed time.
 By 1997, we would have 20 years left until doomsday. Anyways, after stripping naked (Sarah/Emily looks good by the way), Kyle and Sarah get in and they depart to 2017 while Guardian stays behind to prepare for their arrival. Arriving in 2017 on a busy freeway, Sarah and Kyle are taken into custody by the police and are taken to the hospital. There, Kyle encounters his 12 year old younger self (played by Bryant Prince) and reunites with an older O'Brien (played by J.K. Simmons).

Not long after, John, who "somehow" survived the encounter with Alex/Skynet and has been there since 2014, arrives. Kyle and Sarah follow John into a parking garage where Kyle learns that he is John's father, much to his shock. Guardian, who's organic flesh regenerated over time and who has been waiting for Kyle and Sarah for 3 decades, arrives and shoots John. Turns out, John has been converted into a new Terminator, transforming him from hero to villain. The new Terminator model? T-3000.
 Narrowly escaping John, after a battle with him which ended with him caught in the magnetic pull of an MRI machine, Kyle, Sarah and Pops head off to their set up secret hideout while the old T-800 explains everything about the T-3000. Towards the end of the war with the machines in the old timeline, Skynet had been experimenting with Machine Phase Matter, which converted people on a molecular level into Terminators. While many did not survive, John is the first of the T-3000 machines.

Later at the hideout, while preparing to attack Cyberdine, John arrives and attacks the trio. During this encounter, Kyle tries to plead with John only for the converted resistance leader to say, "I cannot be bargained with, can't be reasoned with, I don't feel pity, or remorse or fear. And I will not stop, ever, until Skynet rules this world." As Kyle, Sarah and Guardian try to get away from John, he gives chase, leading to a chase sequence that takes them to Golden Gate Bridge where the cops are waiting.
While John gets away, our three heroes are captured and taken to the police station. While Kyle and Sarah as well as Guardian are interrogated, John shows up and chaos ensues as the T-800 attacks him. Oh yeah, Detective O'Brien is there too. Side note; He's basically this film's version of Peter Silberman and, unlike Silberman, he believes Kyle and Sarah are telling the truth so he sides with them in their mission.

During the chaos, Sarah meets with Kyle's younger self and shows him a straight line, just like in Kyle's vision. Pursued by John, the trio of heroes pilot a helicopter, leading to a helicopter chase which ends at Cyberdine with John getting shot down. Entering the building, John and Sarah meet this timeline's version of Skynet (aka Genisys) which is some kind of hologram kid that grows up as time ticks by. John arrives and is temporarily incapacitated by Guardian, the group head deep inside the facility, setting up bombs even as Skynet taunts them and John attacks from time to time. Eventually, during another encounter with a holographic teenage Skynet, Skynet finally morphs into a Matt Smith hologram which says, "What was that he said, I don't think so?" Kyle recognizes it at once, "Thats the thing that attacked John."

 Kyle and Sarah set up the bombs all while attempting to stop Skynet's hologram from interfering, this is not helped by the countdown and the battle between Guardian and John in the factory and in the Time Displacement PollyAlloy room. Thats right, this place has a time machine prototype. During the battle, the T-3000 loses its John Connor look, looking like an ugly muscular robo guy and Pops loses an arm as well as a bit of his skin sheath.
   The old T-800 eventually gets the upper hand and pins John in the time machine, which activates, before telling Kyle and Sarah, "Skynet is almost free, I cannot hold John Connor much longer. Kyle, please take care of my Sarah." Kyle and Sarah escape as the time machine comes online with two metal guys duking it out inside. Pops gets knocked out into a pool of liquid metal and shuts down while the Displacement Field tears John apart, setting off a huge explosion that destroys Cyberdine.

In the aftermath of the explosion, in a safe room, Sarah and Kyle are mourning the sacrifice of Pops when a liquid metal blade pries open a door. For a second they think its another T-1000 when its revealed to be an upgraded Pops. Thanks to the liquid metal, he is now a TX-esque T-800/T-1000 hybrid with who knows what kind of abilities. Kyle pays his younger self a visit and tells him take a message to always tell himself. The message? "Remember, Skynet is Genisys." Afterwards, Kyle and Sarah begin their romance with a kiss (as Pops watches) and the movie ends with them driving off as Kyle does one last narration. However, there is one more thing. During the post-credits, it turns out that the core of Skynet survived, so it looks like Judgement Day will eventually happen.

Thoughts:

Despite its mixed reception, Terminator Genisys is really, really good. Sure it might have issues here and there, but overall, its a fun ride from start to finish. The acting is incredible, the musical score was awesome (even during the end battle) and there were tons of epic special effects and CGI too. Genisys is an awesome PG-13 Sci-Fi movie and is worth a watch, so go ahead and watch it. I give it an 8.5/10. Too bad it doesn't get a sequel that continues the story, oh well, thats what fanfics are about sometimes, often continuing a story. Either way, it doesn't stop me from being interested in Dark Fate. Anyways, I shall leave you be and see you next time. When we meet again, Terminator fans, I will definitely review Dark Fate.

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